Mindfulness: Its Effects on Anxiety and Depression

Mindfulness: Its Effects on Anxiety and Depression

By: Stacey Rodriguez

Mindfulness, derived from Buddhist teachings, is a practice which fosters introspective awareness. It’s main principles consist of actively experiencing the present moment, as well as practicing radical acceptance. Radical acceptance is a distress tolerance skill, which is implemented by openly recognizing thoughts and experiences without the tension of subjective or negative perception. Central facets of radical acceptance include self compassion and validation. This perspective emphasizes defusion, which is the process of separating the mind from its thoughts; the act of perceiving oneself as the observer of one’s thoughts, rather than identifying with them, allows individuals to healthily process emotions while remaining grounded and rational. Mindfulness is a defining feature of several modern therapeutic approaches, such as dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and mindfulness based cognitive therapy (MBCT). DBT is a form of cognitive therapy, in which the approach focuses on recognizing maladaptive behavioral patterns and core beliefs. Similarly, MBCT uses cognitive behavioral therapy supplemented by mindfulness meditative practices, in order to help individuals become aware of their thoughts and feelings all while avoiding the loop of negativity. 

Practicing mindfulness has proven to have an abundance of promising effects on the mind and body. Overall, it has shown to significantly reduce anxiety and depression. Methodical data suggests that the practice influences stress pathways, and even modifies structure and activity in regions associated with attention and emotion regulation in the brain. Additionally, studies have found mindfulness to have the same moderate effect on treating depression as does medication, as well as moderate effects on anxiety and pain. 

Some mindful activities include:

  • Journaling
  • Practicing breathing techniques
  • Mediation
  • Yoga

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for depression or anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Source:https://www.apa.org/topics/mindfulness/meditation#:~:text=Researchers%20reviewed%20more%20than%20200,%2C%20pain%2C%20smoking%20and%20addiction.

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2015/03/cover-mindfulness

Image source: https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2018/04/harvard-researchers-study-how-mindfulness-may-change-the-brain-in-depressed-patients/

Drug Consumption Rose During COVID-19

By: Priya Desai

Coronavirus is a hard time for everyone and there has been a lot of adjusting to do. Many people turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with the stress, anxiety and depression that they were feeling. Due to this, there was an apparent increase in both quantity and how often people were using drugs during the pandemic. These coping mechanisms are only temporary and cannot fix the problems that people are actually facing.

Months after the pandemic started, there was a survey done in Florida to see how often drugs and alcohol are being used. Almost 80 percent of the participants reported using alcohol in the past month, over 35 percent reported using marijuana, and 10 percent of participants were using stimulant drugs. Along with this, overdoses have spiked since the pandemic began. The increase usage of drugs during the pandemic has occurred primarily among young adults. A few of the reasons for this are economic stress, boredom, general anxiety about the pandemic, fear of acquiring the virus, and loneliness.  With school being online and the stay-at-home act being in order, students had free time which resulted in them abusing substances. Instead of using drugs, people can find a hobby, whether it be painting, exercising, or baking. In addition, with classes being held virtual and jobs being lost due to the pandemic, young adults were worried and stressed. This resulted in an increased use of drug and alcohol in attempt to cope with the stress.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse caused by the pandemic please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Citations: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-instincts/202012/drugs-choice-in-the-era-covid-19

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/03/substance-use-pandemic

Image Citation: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.therecoveryvillage.com%2Fmental-health%2Fstress%2Fsubstance-abuse%2F&psig=AOvVaw1hOPaFHRj0X49E6hcvbtEC&ust=1631200310612000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCJC80e3U7_ICFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

Burnout; what it is and how to prevent it

By Katie Weinstein

When push comes to shove, stress becomes burnout. This can lead to detrimental effects on our physical and mental health, so it is important to recognize when burnout is beginning to occur. Burnout is a gradual process that is defined as an extended period of stress and exhaustion that feels like it isn’t improving. Some signs of burnout are losing interest and motivation to a point in which you become disengaged, which can cause a cynical and resentful attitude. Burnout also affects physical health, causing changes in appetite and sleep and frequent headaches.

The causes of burnout include work, lifestyle, and personality traits. Lack of recognition in a chaotic or high pressure environment can make someone more susceptible to burnout. Some ways to improve work related burnout are to outsource or share responsibilities and to set boundaries for off times such as not checking email. Another cause of burnout can be caregiver burnout, since it can be very tiring to care for a child. It’s important to remember that it does not make you a bad parent or friend to ask for help when you need it. Everyone needs a break. Additionally, a perfectionist attitude and pessimistic view on things may lead to burnout, it is important to recognize when burnout is beginning so that you can practice stress managing techniques and find time to do things that you enjoy to prevent burnout. 

Knowing the difference between a burnout and being overly stressed is essential for mental health. It is important to limit contact with negative people and reach out to supportive friends and family in order to shape a more positive attitude and prevent burnout.

If you or someone you know is experiencing burnout or high levels of stress, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/burnout

Eating Disorders: Prevalence in College Students

Anyone can develop an eating disorder, no matter their gender, sexuality, age, or economic status. However, recent studies have shown a surge in occurrences of eating disorders among college students for both men and women. A 2011 study showed that occurrences of eating disorders specifically on college campuses increased from 7.9% to 25% in men, and 23.4% to 32.6% in women over the course of a 13 year period. While there are approximately 30 million people who struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their life, why is it so prevalent among college students?

When entering college, young adults are suddenly being faced with multiple issues that they have never had to face before. They have a new schedule, intense workloads, stress about making friends and getting good grades, as well as a new sense of freedom that they have probably never had until that moment. College life for most students is typically drastically less structured than life at home. In addition to these factors, most public media pushes a thin or slim ideal body type. Typical eating habits of college students also make it difficult for someone with an eating disorder to eat normally. Poor cafeteria food or access to lots of junk food makes it hard for students to maintain normal eating habits. Often times, the new stressors of college will re-surface pre-existing mental illnesses, or even cause new ones to emerge. When all of these factors combine with anxiety and self-esteem issues, it is highly likely that an individual will develop an unhealthy obsession with eating and body weight in an attempt to feel control in a stressful environment.

When someone is diagnosed with an eating disorder, it is important that their family and loved ones support them during this time. Eating disorders are dangerous and deadly; but there are ways to recover. There are specialized treatment centers for eating disorders, as well as the hotline at the National Eating Disorders Association (https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/help-support/contact-helpline). If someone is developing an eating disorder, it is very beneficial for them to seek therapy as soon as possible.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder or disordered eating, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10640266.2011.584805

https://www.healthline.com/health-news/eating-disorders-on-college-campuses-are-on-the-rise#Eating-disorders-on-the-rise

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

Image Source: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/health-science/coronavirus/2020/12/17/387599/for-those-with-eating-disorders-holidays-in-a-pandemic-can-create-extra-anxiety/

Is an Emotional Support Animal Right for You

By Eleanor Kim

Pets have brought joy and comfort to pet owners for hundreds of years. The sheer presence of a happy-go-lucky dog or cat is enough to bring a smile to anyone’s face. The benefits of pet ownership can go beyond mere companionship or responsibility, in fact, emotional support animals are able to, as their name indicates, provide emotional support and other mental health benefits.

Common ways in which emotional support animals could support their owners are:

  • Fostering emotional connectivity
  • Helping people during times of crisis
  • Lowering anxiety
  • Offering trauma support
  • Improving physical health (Lower blood pressure, decrease respiration rates, improve ability to cope with pain, etc.)
  • Lowering feelings of loneliness or depression
  • Reciprocating feelings of love and care

It is important to indicate the difference between emotional support animals and service animals. Service animals also provide emotional support to their owners; however, service animals undergo intensive training to perform specific tasks necessary to aid their owners’ needs. In contrast, emotional support animals do not need formal training and simply need to receive a certification from the state registry. In order to qualify for an emotional service animal, individuals must acquire a prescription from a licensed mental health professional indicating that the presence of an emotional support animal is necessary for the mental health of the patient.

In a time when all of us are at home and may be in need of more emotional support, emotional support animals may provide the help you need. If you are interested in receiving emotional support, whether that be through a support animal or through a mental health professional, we here at Arista Counseling are here to assist you.

If you or someone you know is looking for emotional support, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

References:

Everything You Need to Know About Emotional Support Animals

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-an-emotional-support-animal-4171479#definition

Picture Source:

https://figopetinsurance.com/blog/can-cats-dogs-live-together-peacefully

Shopping Addiction

By: Deanna Damaso

Shopping Addiction is a behavioral addiction where a person buys items compulsively or a specific item repeatedly as an attempt to relieve stress. Those suffering with a shopping addiction spend more time shopping than doing other activities because of their uncontrollable urges to spend money.

The joy of shopping has a direct effect on the brain’s pleasure centers by flooding the brain with endorphins and dopamine. The buyer gets a short-lived “shopping high” from making frequent shopping trips, buying large items, or expensive purchases. However, after a couple hours, the dopamine recedes and the shopper is left with an empty, unsatisfied feeling. This can lead to hoarding, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. If left untreated, compulsive buyers could go deeper into debt and turn to stealing.

Some signs of a shopping addiction often include:

  • Spending more money than anticipated
  • Compulsive purchases
  • Chronic spending when angry, anxious, or depressed
  • Lying about the problem
  • Broken relationships
  • Ignoring the consequences of spending money

Financial therapy is effective in teaching how to manage finances and shop more responsibly. Cognitive and behavioral therapies are effective treatments that identify and improve the negative thoughts and behaviors surrounding the addiction. Medications can be prescribed to those who struggle with both the addiction and other mental health issues. This combination treatment helps relieve symptoms to assist in recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a shopping addiction, Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact us in Paramus, NJ at 201-368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY at 212-996-3939 to arrange an appointment. For more information about our services, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

Sources:

https://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/shopping

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/200603/doped-shopping

Suicide: Suicidal Awareness, All Year and Every Year

By: Diana Bae

September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. Although today is the last day of the month, the awareness of suicide should not be limited to a single month. Instead, it is an issue that should be recognized every single day because in all cases, suicide is preventable.

2% of all deaths in the United States are due to suicide. The affected population is usually men of older age but as of recently, has also involved more teenagers and young adults (ages 15-24). The most common causes are due to feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, stress as well as the effects of psychological illnesses, like depression.

However, it is important to know that NO ONE IS ALONE WITH THIS STATE OF MIND. With the correct help, all of these difficulties can be helped when speaking with a psychologist. If you or someone you know has expressed these thoughts, including but not limited to: suicidal ideation, self-harm, extreme changes in behavior, and relying on substances, contact a therapist right away.

Arista Psychological and Psychiatric Services will be there to help those who are feeling suicidal and are dedicated to be a comforting source for those seeking for treatment. If you or someone you know would like to set up an appointment for our counseling services, contact us at our offices in Paramus, NJ (201) 368-3700 or in Manhattan, NY (212) 996-3939. For more information, please visit our website https://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

For emergency situations: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

 

Sources:

https://www.apa.org/topics/suicide/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide

https://www.apa.org/topics/suicide/signs

Image source: http://www.webgranth.com/alone-wallpapers-download-latest-hd-alonesad-wallpaper-free

Burnout in College Students (Part 2)

Tatyana A. Reed

HOW TO AVOID/FIGHT BURNOUT

Being stressed out may seem like a normal human thing to do, and stress can be very positive for promoting work at some points. However, if it gets to the burnout stage its best you sit down, understand what’s causing your burnout, and deal with it. Here’s a few ways to help fight/avoid burnout from happening to you:

  1. Pay attention to the warning signs

Whenever you feel like your stress is getting extremely high and starting to take a toll on you mentally and physically, you should sit down and relax.

  1. Say “no”

Yes, it’s normal after studying for a whole week that you may want to go spend some time with your friends, but if you feel extremely tired, just say no, they’ll understand.

  1. Get your proper’s night of rest

It may seem like a good idea to study all night and not sleep, but your brain actually works better when it has a good amount of sleep. Just like you get physically tired, so does your brain after a long day, get some rest.

  1. Don’t put too much on your plate

It may seem like putting more on your plate will fill your appetite but really it will not end pretty. Things get out of hand and too much on your plate may cause you not to have any personal down time to unwind.

  1. Turn “down”

Take some time alone to do things that isn’t causing your brain to stress. If this means, just sleeping, watching shows all day, whatever you need to turn down, its best to set aside some time to do this

  1. Get help

Life can definitely get stressful at times and being in college doesn’t always help that out. Try to have someone on hand that you can talk to when things get a little out of hand, whether that be a friend, family member, or professional; most college campuses do offer psychological/counseling services that may be more convenient to you. It’s okay to sit back and say “I’m super stressed out, I need to relax” because the sooner you help yourself, the less help that will need to be done. Put the flame out before you burnout.

If you or someone you know is dealing with burnout, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

References:

Harrison, Mike. “Avoid College Burnout.” Great Lakes Christian College, 22 Jan. 2018, http://www.glcc.edu/avoid-college-burnout/ (PHOTO)

Jerry, Lisa M. “10 Signs you’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 3 Jan. 2018, http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/.

Stephanie Cushman & Richard West (2006) Precursors to College Student Burnout: Developing a Typology of Understanding, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 7:1, 23-31, DOI: 10.1080/17459430600964638

Vaiana, Dominic. “Burnout in College: What Causes It and How to Avoid It.” College Info Geek, 5 Mar. 2019, collegeinfogeek.com/student-burnout

Burnout in College Students (Part 1)

Tatyana A. Reed

With school coming into full swing, before we can even get that deep, it’s time to look at burnout, particularly in students. Have you ever taken on way too many tasks and at the last minute realized it’s causing an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion and being stressed out? Or have you ever been so busy you feel like nothing is going to get done correctly or done at all? If you have felt like this, nine times out of ten you were experiencing burnout.

According to pyschologytoday.com burnout is “a state of emotional, mental, and often physical exhaustion brought on by prolonged or repeated stress.” Burnout is not a widely talked about topic unless the causes have been detrimental to an individual. In this article, we will talk about the symptoms, affects, and how to avoid burnout.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN STRESS AND BURNOUT

Before we can talk about the signs of burnout, we first have to understand that there is a difference between burnout and stress. David Ballard, member of the American Psychological Association, describes burnout as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their job [academic] performance.”

SIGNS OF BURNOUT

Here are just some of the early indicators of college burnout according to collegeinfogeek.com:

  • Constant exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Constant frustration
  • Grades beginning to decline
  • Struggling to pay attention
  • Disengagement from friends and colleagues

WHAT MAY BE CAUSING YOUR BURNOUT 

A study conducted by University of South Maine in 2006 had 354 students answer questions that helped look at why burnout may be happening to college students. Here are the four most prevalent answers:

  • 13% said it was due to lack of motivation on their personal part
  • 25% attributed it to issues caused by their part time job ( finance and lack of time) and due to family issues
  • 5% said it was caused by a professor
  • And the most prevalent answer was because of having too many assignments on their plate

 

If you or someone you know is dealing with burnout, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

 

References:

Harrison, Mike. “Avoid College Burnout.” Great Lakes Christian College, 22 Jan. 2018, http://www.glcc.edu/avoid-college-burnout/ (PHOTO)

Jerry, Lisa M. “10 Signs you’re Burning Out — And What To Do About It.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 3 Jan. 2018, http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/04/01/10-signs-youre-burning-out-and-what-to-do-about-it/.

Stephanie Cushman & Richard West (2006) Precursors to College Student Burnout: Developing a Typology of Understanding, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 7:1, 23-31, DOI: 10.1080/17459430600964638

Vaiana, Dominic. “Burnout in College: What Causes It and How to Avoid It.” College Info Geek, 5 Mar. 2019, collegeinfogeek.com/student-burnout/

Stress: Types of Stress and What it’s All About

Stress: Types of Stress and What it’s All About

By Crystal Tsui

In our everyday lives, we deal with all different kinds of stress, whether it’s from danger, work, family, financial, or education. Here are some of the different types of stress:

  • Acute
  • Chronic
  • Eustress
  • Distress

Acute stress is our fight-or flight response where we are on high alert on our surroundings, usually lasting only 90 mins. Chronic stress is our daily stress that we typically deal with, such as bills, kids, and work. This is the kind of daily stress we tend to ignore. Eustress is our daily positive stress that motivates us to be productive such as having a baby, graduation, or meeting new friends. But the complete opposite would be distress. Distress is the daily negative stress like financial problems, work difficulties, or divorce. Most of the time we can manage our stress by exercising, mediating, or even taking time to talk to family and friends.

However, if stress is not managed properly, stress can affect your body and your immune system. Some symptoms of prolonged stress include:

  • Headaches
  • Increase likelihood of depression (such as lack of motivation)
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Some biological symptoms of prolonged stress include:

  • Hypertension
  • Increased risk of Diabetes Mellitus Type II
  • Increased changes in acid reflux
  • Increases risk of contracting H. Pylori (bacterium that causes gastric ulcers)
  • Erectile Dysfunction or heavier, painful menses
  • Decrease body’s response to fight off viruses, infections, and the common cold

If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic stress and are seeking stress management, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Citations:

https://imagesvc.timeincapp.com/v3/mm/image?url=https%3A%2F%2Ftimedotcom.files.wordpress.com%2F2018%2F11%2Fstress-benefits.jpg&w=663&c=sc&poi=face&q=85

https://thehealthedge.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Managing-Work-Related-Stress.jpg

https://www.stress.org/daily-life